China China releases draft plan for new chemical pollutants management

Regulations on PFOA, decaBDE, other hazardous substances

China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment on October 11 released a draft of the New Pollutant Management Action Plan (新污染物治理行动方案 (征求意见稿)) to solicit comments, which were accepted until October 22. The plan has been developed to manage new pollutants more effectively. “New pollutants” refer to pollutants that pose risks to the environment or human health, but are not managed yet or cannot be managed through existing measures so that the risks are contained. Here is an overview of the draft action plan.

Strict regulations on new chemical registration

  • Carry out special spot checks on companies involved in new chemical registration
  • Carry out on-the-spot inspections of the quality of registration test data and publish the inspection results
  • Integrate new chemical management into the environmental law enforcement plan, imposing strict penalties on offenders

Bans and restrictions on chemicals

  • Ban the production, processing, use, import and export of hexabromocyclododecane from December 26, 2021
  • Ban the sale of daily-use chemicals containing microbeads by the end of 2022
  • Ban the production, processing, use, import and export of PFHxS, decabromodiphenyl ether, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, hexachlorobutadiene and Dechlorane Plus in phases by the end of 2025
  • Strictly restrict the production, processing and use of PFOS and PFOA
  • Ban the use of nonylphenols in agrochemicals
  • Practically achieve total compliance with dioxin emission standards

Strict regulations on hazardous chemical content in products

  • Strictly regulate the amount of certain hazardous chemicals in products by incorporating relevant requirements into the mandatory national standards (GB)
  • Develop mandatory national standards for hazardous chemical content in consumer goods, including toys and student products, in phases
  • Establish standards for limits on short-chain chlorinated paraffins content in chlorinated paraffin products by 2023

Publication and continuous updating of the Key Regulated New Pollutant List 2021

Establish and continuously update the Key Regulated New Pollutant List 2021 (重点管控新污染物清单 (2021年版)), which contains the following three classes of pollutants:

  1. Endocrine disruptors and antibiotics
  2. Substances regulated by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  3. Substances on the Hazardous Air Pollutant List (有毒有害大气污染物名录) and Hazardous Water Pollutant List (有毒有害水污染物名录) whose risks cannot be contained through existing management measures

The table below shows some of the Stockholm Convention-regulated substances (including candidate substances) on the list.

Substance(s)

Main regulation measures

PFOS Production is banned.

Use, import and export will be banned from January 1, 2026 (with exceptions).

PFOA Production, use, import and export are banned (with exceptions such as for photolithography and etching in semiconductor manufacturing).
PFHxS Production, use import and export are banned.
Hexabromocyclododecane Use, import and export will be banned from December 26, 2021.
Decabromodiphenyl ether Production, use, import and export are banned (with some exceptions in place until a total ban is implemented on January 1, 2024).
Short-chain chlorinated paraffins Production, use, import and export are banned (with some exceptions in place until a total ban is implemented on January 1, 2024).
Hexachlorobutadiene Production, use, import and export are banned.

Discharge is strictly regulated in the petrochemical and other industries.

Pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters Production, use, import and export are banned.
Dechlorane Plus Production, use, import and export will be banned from January 1, 2026.

In addition to the nine items above, the full list contains the following substances (28 items in total):

  • Nonylphenol ethoxylates
  • Antibiotics
  • Dioxins
  • Dichloromethane
  • Chloroform
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Chlordane
  • Mirex
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • DDT
  • α-Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • β-Hexachlorocyclohexane
  • Lindane
  • Endosulfan
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Dicofol

Each item is subject to different rules. For details, see the full list at the end of the draft action plan (in Chinese).

 

The full text of the draft plan is available at
http://mee.gov.cn/xxgk2018/xxgk/xxgk06/202110/t20211011_956084.html